Department of Agricultural Expansion has said this season’s jute output target cannot be met because of low prices.
Farmers are losing interest in planting jute after failing to get a good price, with both money and labour gone waste.
“The target for this year was to plant jute in 757,000 hectares of land. But it could be done only in 737,000 hectares,” the department’s Deputy Director (Monitoring) Rafiqul Islam told bdnews24.com.
He claimed, despite the fall in planting targets, the production was ‘good’ this year.
“I hope the overall production will increase over last year’s,” he said.
The department was hopeful of producing more than 77000 bales of jute from 757,000 hectares.
During last 2012-13 fiscal, the target was set at some 76,000 bales of jutes from 689,000 hectares of land, which was lower than the target of the previous year.
According to data of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), 80,000 bales of jute was produced from 760,000 hectares in the 2011-12 fiscal.
The department’s Deputy Director (Jute Marketing) Abul Kalam Azad said 40 kgs of jutes was being sold for Tk 900-1,200 in the market. He added the price for the same amount of the ‘Tosha’ jute was in between Tk 1200 and 15,000.
“The price was higher last year,” he said.
Mohabbat Ali, a farmer who works in a field at Bagha in Rajshahi said, ”One Bigha of land can produce maximum 280 kgs of jute and that cost some Tk 6000.”
“We’ are selling 40 kgs of those only at in between Tk 900 and Tk 1000. We hardly make any profit,” he said.
Additional Deputy Commissioner Shafiqul Rahman echoed the farmer that most of the farmers were now losing interest in jute cultivation.
In the Rajshahi Agricultural region alone, the jute plantation target fell short by 5000 hectares this season.
He, however, said it was possible to produce additional 1.5 million bales of jute every year if appropriate measures were taken.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Aug 18 that Bangladeshi scientists sequenced the DNA of the traditional variety of jute having already unravelled the genome for ‘Tosha’ jute.
The decoding will enable Bangladesh to own all the genetic documents of the natural fibre which has reappeared as a crucial resource in the campaign for environmental friendliness.
Earlier in 2010, Hasina disclosed in Parliament that Bangladeshi researchers had done genome sequencing of jute which would help develop the jute fibre, production of new jute seeds compatible with hostile weather caused by the climate change, curb diseases and help develop the jute industry.
Jute is the second largest fibre crop in terms of cultivation and usage next to cotton. Bangladesh is the world’s second-largest producer of jute after India, and the world’s largest exporter of the fibre.
Source: Bd news24